A GLADSTONE specialist GP has revealed his concerns about the Federal Government's Health record, slamming it as an invasion of privacy and suggesting patients carry their own personal digital health history on a USB.

His are among the groundswell of concern from the medical industry about the online system which gives a summary of an individual's health information.

 

My Health Record is creating some community concerns.
My Health Record is creating some community concerns.

In July, the Australian Medical Association's president Dr Tony Bartone said he was working with Health Minister, Greg Hunt to ensure the Government will take further steps to protect the privacy and security of the information held in the My Health Record.

Consultant Physician-Specialist and Medical Oncologist GP Leong-Fook Ng said five years ago he encouraged all his regional patients to sign up for a digital health record.

But today, he and his wife and child will not sign up to the My Health Record.

"Five years ago we had another version of digital health records where doctors could keep track of patients allergies, drugs and immunisations," Dr Ng said.

 

health, waiting room
Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle
health, waiting room Photo Bev Lacey / The Chronicle Bev Lacey

"Things work a little differently now, we are seeing issues of people being stalked by those who have access to their data."

The regional doctor who has worked in regional clinics across Australia said having a record was important for patients who had a high turnover in GPs.

Dr Ng always carries a USB on him and said it could be a temporary solution for patients.

"If patients had their own health record that can only be personally accessed by them that could be extremely useful for doctors," he said.

"But patients aren't reliable in bringing a USB of their health records into the clinic. Many of them forget their scripts."

AMA's Dr Bartone said there had been a groundswell of concern from its members and the public about the 2012 legislation framing the My Health Record, particularly Section 70, which deals with the disclosure of health information for law enforcement purposes. Their concerns were elated this year, with the My Health Record becoming compulsory, unless you opt-out of the system.

Recently Mr Hunt agreed to push out the opt-out deadline by a month to October 15.

Gladstone GP Super Clinic director Dr John Bird said the health record was an issue for doctors, describing it as a "booby-trapped haystack" and target for health insurers.

"From a medical point of view, a doctor uploads a PDF into the system and it creates a sort of haystack of information," Dr Bird said.

"In a clinic, GPs have 15 minutes at best to sort it out and even less time in emergency. It's just as likely we end up with misleading information."

Dr Bird said doctors were financially rewarded for every health record they uploaded.

Mr Hunt recently said health data would not be released for employment and insurance purposes.


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